Misconceptions of Abortion


Abortion is one of today’s most discussed issues. There is a lot to consider, between a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body and the public opinion of pro-choice & pro-life. But through all the debating, many rumors and fallacies about abortion have clouded fact from fiction. Here we will address the common misconceptions that have saturated the subject.

Contrary to what most people believe, abortion is a common occurrence.

According to research and statistics taken over the past few years, 30% of American women will have an abortion by age 45. Many people don’t feel comfortable talking about it, due to the stigma it carries. There are myths that women who seek abortions are of lower-class or that women of certain religious beliefs would never get abortions. None of this holds any truth. According to abortion surveillance data from the CDC, women of all races and religious background get abortions. Fifty-nine percent of women who have abortions have already given birth. And of those who are not mothers, many want to have children at some point, but feel it was not the right time.

Death from abortion is highly unlikely.

According to the CDC’s abortion surveillance data, there is 1 fatality in every 100,000 legal abortions performed by a professional. On the other hand, 15.9 women died for every 100,000 live births, as per the CDC’s pregnancy mortality data. This means childbirth is about 14 times more deadly than abortion. Risk of dying from abortion increases the longer someone is pregnant, which is why first-trimester abortions are far less dangerous.

Having an abortion does not make you irresponsible.

Women seeking abortion are stereotyped as reckless or accused of “sleeping around”. The reality is often not about being irresponsible, but more so about being human and not being perfect all the time. There are plenty of responsible people with birth control but may accidentally skip a few pills or have a condom break accidentally during sex. A large percentage of unintended pregnancies are people who use birth control but do so incorrectly. You can take precautions, but nothing in this world is guaranteed, there are even cases of sterilization that failed.

Being pro-choice doesn’t mean you’d have an abortion.

Pro-choice is about knowing that every woman deserves to make that choice for herself. Women may feel that if needed they could have an abortion, but when pregnancy occurs they feel differently. Or there are women who are pro-life, but then something happens and they feel like abortion is the right thing for them.

The morning after pill and an abortion pill are not the same thing.

According to Planned Parenthood, the abortion pill consists of two medicines, mifepristone and misoprostol. It blocks the hormone progesterone, so the uterine lining breaks down and can’t support a pregnancy. And so, the abortion pill is prescribed to end a pregnancy that has already started.

The morning after pill is what you take immediately after unprotected sex. It works by stopping ovulation, to avoid getting pregnant in the first place. If you’ve already ovulated it won’t do anything, it can’t disrupt a pregnancy, prevent an egg from implanting, or make an implanted fertilized egg exit the uterus.

Having an abortion does not affect a future pregnancy.

Contrary to popular belief, a first-trimester abortion is a simple and safe medical procedure. Today almost all abortions are outpatient, meaning there are no overnight stays at the doctor’s office or hospital. In the past, people may have faced risks like physical damage and infertility due to unsafe abortions being done by unqualified physicians. This was a result of abortion being driven underground through criminalization. The decriminalization of abortion allowed for trained providers who now perform the procedure under the same strict conditions as any other health care procedure.

There is no greater risk of psychological harm when a person chooses to have an abortion.

All life decisions carry with them a range of emotion. There is no evidence to support the “post-abortion syndrome”, which is a term used to describe the alleged psychological and emotional issues people face after an abortion. Everyone will respond differently to their abortion, depending on factors such as the support from family and friends. Although some people may find it stressful in the short-term, most cope well and do not experience long-term problems.

The topic is complex, but let’s not complicate it with myths. In the end, it comes down to giving people the tools they need to be as healthy as possible, physically and mentally.